European budget approved

Members of the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg have approved the European Union's overall budget for the next seven years. They've also voted in favour of regional aid that's expected to deliver €2.1 billion to West Wales and the Valleys.

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  1. Nick Powell

Wales benefits from aid that mostly goes east

Apart from Wales and Cornwall, European aid is concentrated in the east...
...and south of the European Union Credit: European Commission

The European Commission has marked today's vote in the European Parliament by issuing a map showing where its aid budget will be spent over the next seven years. Less developed regions, with below 75% of the EU's average GDP per person, are shown in red. They will share €164 billion

The orange regions, with 75% to 90%, get €32 billion. Everywhere else shares €49 billion. The map shows how previous rounds of European aid have helped some regions to become more prosperous. No part of the Republic of Ireland or the former East Germany is now classed as 'less developed'.

Many east European countries have at least seen their capitals grow into prosperous commuter centres. Warsaw, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Bucharest have all passed the 90% mark.

Commuting also partly explains the apparent lack of progress in West Wales and the Valleys, where many workers have jobs in Cardiff, Newport, Wrexham or Deeside.

The European Commission's figures still show the €2.1 billion expected for West Wales and the Valleys as the total for the UK's less developed regions, which also include Cornwall.

However, the Commission is expected to agree to the UK Government's plan to switch some funds from England to Wales to make up the difference.

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